Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Guru Sparkling Energy Water Lime


This is the last of the new Guru Sparkling Energy Waters. I picked it up at a fancy grocery store in Hamilton for $2.99, but I have seen it at a few places in Toronto and southwestern Ontario.

Taste

Unlike the other two Guru energy waters, this one is a tad cloudy and screams "flavored water". It smells like a Sprite/7-Up/Mountain Dew combo with hints of creamy limes but it tastes nothing like it. It actually tastes like club soda with a generous squirt of fresh lime juice. The excessive carbonation makes the first part of each sip taste like nothing, but after that you are hit with a healthy dose of sour limes that make your mouth pucker up.

Green tea and stevia notes are present in the aftertaste, but thanks to the strong lime flavor, they are not as prevalent as with the other two Guru energy waters.

Energy

There are 100 mg of caffeine and the effects are noticeable within 10-15 minutes. I got a very mild case of the jitters that lasted mere minutes and then a short period of clarity and focus before the caffeine kicked in and gave me a nice 2 hour kick. There was no drama at the end when the effects ended.

Scores:
Cost - $2.99
Taste - 8.2/10
Energy - 7/10

Overall - 15.2/20...my favorite of the Guru Sparkling Energy Waters

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Guru Energy Water Pomegranate Review


I bought all of my Guru Energy Water cans from a fancy grocery store in Hamilton, but since then (August, 2016), I have seen them pop up across Toronto in health stores, fancy grocery stores and some convenience stores that have always carried Guru products. Cost? I paid $2.99, but the cost could be as high as $3.49.

Taste

This energy water is as clear as regular water. There are some bubbles, but there is nothing that indicates its flavor. That is until you stick your nose in the can. When you do that, there is a sour pomegranate aroma as well as a bit of a granny smith apple. The flavor doesn't come in until a few moments after you take a swig and after the bubbles settle. The flavor feels artificial, but this energy water does taste like pomegranate, with some cranberries and a bit of apples. Some earthy green tea comes towards the finish and lingers well into the aftertaste alongside subtle stevia notes.

I like this one a tad better than the Grapefruit one I had a few months ago, because the pomegranate adds a bit of tartness, but I am just not a fan of the energy waters in general.

Energy

There are 100 mg of caffeine that come from green tea. The effects are surprisingly powerful and quick for an energy water with no sugar. I felt a bit jittery within 15 minutes of consuming half the can. Compared to a sugary energy drink, I wasn't as jittery, but I did get a leg twitch.

With the caffeine fully in my system, I got a good kick for just over 2 hours. No crash at the end.

Scores:
Cost - $2.99
Taste - 7.8/10
Energy - 7/10

Overall - 14.8/20...slightly tart

Friday, November 4, 2016

Two Bears Cold Brew Coffee


Though I have tried Two Bears in the past, their cold brew coffee is surprisingly hard to find where I live considering the fact they are local. Luckily I happened to walk by a food fest along the waterfront where one of the vendors was none other than Two Bears! So brace yourself for reviews.

Taste

The coffee is a little cloudier than expected probably due to the sedimentation that I re-introduced when I shook the bottle. It smells like a sweet drip coffee with subtle chocolate notes. The taste is watery at first but develops as it travels along the tongue to the back. There is absolutely no bitterness at any point. Some sourness is present which gives the coffee some brightness, a clean finish and just a touch of citrus at the end.

Now, a word on the coffee. The flavor is light and free of bitterness but lacks boldness. The sourness dominates the taste at times I was expecting the coffee to shine through. That could mean that it is wasn't brewed long enough (underextracted),  maybe not enough coffee was used, or just that the coffee has high acidity. Whatever the case may be, I thought it could be bolder.

Energy

No mention of caffeine content anywhere on the label, but the effects are similar to that of a cup of strong coffee. The sourness also perked me up at the start so that's a bonus.

Scores:
Cost - $4
Taste - 7/10
Energy - 7.8/10

Overall - 14.8/20...sour

Monday, October 31, 2016

V8 Energy Drinks in Canada


Finally V8 (actually Campbell Soup Company) answered my years of prayers and brought some of their energy drinks north of the border. As of late summer/early fall you are able to officially purchase V8 Peach Mango and Pomegranate Blueberry energy drinks for $2.49 each. Ouch! My complaint now is - why are they $2.49 in Canada when a 6-pack costs $5.99 in the US? But one step at a time.

Peach Mango

The last time I had Peach Mango was in 2012 and I gave it a glowing review saying it was one of the best energy drinks I ever had, etc. The Canadian version is a little different. The peach is still well defined and comes through at the start, and the mango is still mellow and helps round off the finish, but there is a lot more of the green tea and stevia throughout each sip. The US version also has green tea and stevia, but my recollection is that they are a little more subtle.

The slight differences take down the overall enjoy-ability a notch, but this V8 is still a decent tasting energy drink.

Taste - 7.8/10

Pomegranate Blueberry

I have never been tempted to get this one in the US before because of its generic flavor combo, but when in Canada, totally different story.

This red, cranberry-like juice smells just like a POM combo juice. The pomegranate is mild and comes through clearly right from the start, but is closely followed by equally strong notes of stevia. The blueberry portion rounds off the end and lingers into the finish giving your mouth a mellow candy-like feel. Green tea notes come out near the end and are not as pronounced as with the Peach Mango drink.

Overall, the stevia and green tea are better hidden here because of the lightly tart nature of the pomegranate.

Taste - 9/10

Energy

Like its brethren south of the border, the Canadian cans contain 80 mg of caffeine each. The effects are not as intense as a can of Red Bull since there are only 11 grams of sugar, but you still get a brief sugar rush within 10-15 minutes. I did not experience any jitters and even felt focused for a bit. When the caffeine kicked, it gave me about 1.5 hours of energy which slowly went away without any drama.

Scores:
Cost - $2.49 per can
Energy - 6/10

Overall - 13.8/20 to 15/20

Friday, October 28, 2016

Marley Mellow Mood Mixed Berry Sparkling Water


There are so many energy waters this summer so I guess shouldn't be so surprised that Marley Mellow Mood has decided to do a sparkling water relaxation drink.

Taste

The super light pink sparkling beverage is super weird tasting. At least at first. The initial taste is this sour, artificially sweetened (erythritol), artificially flavored medley of berries which gets amplified by the carbonated nature of the drink. Once the carbonation dies  you are left with the artificial berry mess that is hard to separate out and focus on individual flavors. Is there raspberry? Maybe? Maybe it is cherry, or maybe it is cranberry. Even the label doesn't say what the mixed berry is actually. 

Not a fan at all.

Performance

There are 80 mg of the relaxation blend, which is more than some of the other flavors that contain 50 mg. So despite its odd flavor, the beverage works...sort of. Each cold, carbonated sip actually pepped me up a little. This would have worked a little better if it was non-carbonated.

Anywaaaays, after a long evening of work involving some more coffee than I am used to, I had to consume this beverage to force myself to sleep. I was feeling the calming effects within 20-30 minutes despite the pep effect each sip had. My eye lids were getting heavy within another 10, but I was starting to feel the struggle with the coffee that was still in my system. I felt parts of my body tremble a bit and cursed myself for having that one coffee so late. Despite the heaviness of my eye lids, it took a lot longer for me to fully calm down and go to sleep than the times I didn't have a late coffee. Curses!!! Still, that's on me and not Marley.

Scores:
Cost - $3.29
Taste - 5/10
Performance - 9/10

Overall - 14/20...probably the least tasty Marley to date

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Marley Mellow Mood Bartlett Pear Black Tea Zero Sugar


I bought this new Marley Mellow Mood from a 7-11 for $3.29. Not all carry it, but if you go to a 7-11 at a more public/populated location, you should be able to find it.

Taste

The aroma coming off this beverage is amazing. I don’t know how they did it, but it feels like I am holding and smelling an actual Bartlett pear. Amazing! 

Buuuuuut the aroma is where the amazement stops. The taste takes a different path and the sugar-free nature of it is in your face in every sip. There is a heavy sweetener presence at the start of each sip that stays with you through the sip and well into the aftertaste. A semi-fake sweetened pear note appears half-way through but stays with the sweetener well into the aftertaste. I said semi because at times in the aftertaste it feels like you just had a Bartlett pear.

The black tea tones have been dialled down and make brief appearances towards the end of each sip and in pockets here and there in the aftertaste as a slightly acidic hint.

Performance

This flavour has 80 mg of the relaxation blend and performs somewhere in between the new Marley I had a few weeks ago and the original releases that contained 100 mg. Within 15-20 minutes of taking the first sip I was starting to feel a bit more sluggish and could feel that the desire to sleep would overcome me at some point in the near future. And it did within another 20 minutes. Definitely don’t operate a heavy vehicle if you consumed one of these. Even if you can fight off the desire to sleep, your state will be altered and your reactions will be delayed. 

Pretty good drink if you want to chill or have problems falling asleep.

Scores:
Cost - $3.29
Taste - 7.8/10
Performance - 9/10


Overall - 16.8/20…works as advertised but the flavour would have been much better if it had sugar

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Two Bears Cold Brew Coffee Cacao


Two Bears Cold Brew Coffee is a new cold brew company whose products have started popping up in health food stores and grocery stores that like to offer a wider variety of beverages in GTA and Montreal. There are 3 varieties of Two Bears' cold brew, but I was only able to find the Cacao one so far.

Taste

The chicory root and cacao combo gives this cold brew an interesting aroma that resembles that of a chocolate desert more than that of a coffee. On the palate, the ingredients are dialed down and allow the coffee to shine through. Some unexpected acidity is present at the start but compared to a normal coffee, it isn't intense. I was just expecting a bit less given the fact that cold brews don't extract as much acids.

The chicory and cacao are very subtle, come in at the end and leave a subtle lingering note at the back of your throat. I wish these were more accentuated like on the nose because it will definitely give this cold brew a unique twist that will separate it from the rest.

Energy

It doesn't say how much caffeine is in the bottle, but if I had to estimate, I would guess in the range of 120 mg to 150 mg. The effects are similar to a cup of black coffee - no jitters, or crash with a good buzz for 2.5 hours or so.

Scores:
Cost - $3.99
Taste - 7.5/10
Energy - 7.8/10

Overall - 15.3/20...a bit over-acidic but an interesting twist with the chicory